I started out to make this with little interest really, as the title is no eye catcher. But it was our recipe for today's FFWD group, so that's what I was making.
As I read the recipe and started to set out the ingredients, it dawned on my that it was the apple 'loaf' I ate many times in the past, courtesy of one of my father's ex wives (yes, one of them, there are a few...).
This is an interesting recipe, where very few ingredients bake a long time transforming themselves into something that you don't expect. Just apples, butter and sugar basically, forgotten in a low heat oven and turning into a silky, caramelized dessert. And I really mean forgotten because it's best to leave it overnight, and I really mean low oven, as in 100ºC /220ºF.
Long and slow apples is not a fitting title for a recipe that even this guy considers genius. You might mistakenly turn the page, not even tempted by a photograph because there is none. I definitely need to have a serious talk with Dorie about this.
You start with apples, cut them very thin, mandoline thin, and then stack them up in a buttered mold, alternating layers of fruit with brushes of melted butter and sprinklings of sugar and a flavoring like a zest or cinnamon. Cover the whole thing and forget about it in the oven.
I used a loaf pan and baked it for like 7 hours, until I got a golden color and the apples were absolutely tender when pierced with a knife.
It's a bit like packing a suitcase, you start with a base and then fill the nooks and crannies with those irregular little pieces of apples until it looks like not another single thin slice fits in, yet a little pressure down makes room for a few more. The first time you might realize you needed more sugar between layers or a different spice, so next time you get a bit better at it.
And, just like packing, after a few times you can perfectly fit all your slices and the amount of sugar is perfect, the result is amazing and you do it in no time.
I have eaten this dessert many times in the past and was even given the recipe at some point, though I will hardly ever know where it is now. What I do remember is that it involved orange juice too, that was poured through the sides before popping it into the oven, and the final color was a much deeper caramel brown. It was richer in every way. So I need to try it and let you know.